Malaysia's new airline navigation charges to meet ICAO’s requirements

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia (The Star/ANN) - The new fees will be implemented starting this Friday.

The Department of Civil Aviation’s (DCA) proposed new fees are necessary so as to comply with an upcoming audit by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), says Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai.

“The new fees are still a suggestion and have not yet been implemented. Today (Tuesday), we are going to engage the stakeholders.

“We are a very accommodating ministry and we will listen to the people’s plight,” Liow said.

Liow added that as the DCA aimed to upgrade itself from a department to a Civil Aviation Authority, there were several requirements set by ICAO that it needed to fulfil in order to achieve the status.

“A team from the ICAO will be auditing the DCA in May, and they will not only look into our fees but also on other services.

“Before this, there have been several services that we do not impose fees. But according to the ICAO, there are many new fees we need to implement.

“This is to show that our government is committed to up­­grading the DCA into a Civil Aviation Authority.

“To set up a Civil Aviation Authority, you have to show to ICAO that you are self-sustainable and that the income from your fees are able to handle the transformation process.

“That is the reason why we have to implement these adjustments,” he told reporters after his ministry’s excellence awards ceremony here.

Liow, however, gave assurance that the transformation would ensure better service for the aviation industry as well as the consumers.

“I promise the consumers and the aviation industry players that with this fee increase, we can give better services. Our equipment, services, air traffic control and such will be at a higher level.

“Airlines will be able to reduce their costs as well when they use our services which will be more advanced.

“The move is justifiable and we are not increasing it just for the sake of it, but with the intention to give better services,” said Liow.

The minister also said he did not expect the fee increment would cause flight ticket prices to go up.

“I do not think ticket fees are involved. What is affected is only the cost of administration, implementation and such.

“Some say there will be a 1,000 per cent hike on ticket price. This is not true. Of course, an increase from 5 sen in fees to 50 sen is 1,000 per cent but the value is not the same.

“I think it is not true it will cause a heavy cost to airlines.

“But we can promise a higher level in service which can help reduce airlines’ costs,” said Liow.

He said the new DCA charges would still kick off on April 15 in anticipation of the ICAO audit in May.

The minister and DCA met with stakeholders and airline operators yesterday and Liow is expected to announce a final decision today.

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